Caller ID SpoofingTelemarketers and other unwanted callers have been the bane of many households’ existence for decades. With the proliferation of caller ID in the 1990s, millions could breathe a sigh of relief as they now had the ability to screen and even automatically block calls from “Unknown” or “Private” numbers. Unfortunately, in recent years, technology has provided a benefit to scammers in the form of caller ID spoofing technology – software that enables the caller to disguise his or her name and phone number as that of a trusted company, government agency, or even the recipient of the call. This technology is widely available for free online.  [click to continue…]

Computer Judge Drawing from the well-known, user-friendly process of filing employment discrimination complaints before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council has weighed in with a nuanced approach to protect the open Internet from claims of blocking, throttling, or other complaints.

Last week, MMTC filed Reply Comments for a coalition of 45 national minority organizations, asserting that the FCC’s current authority under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, combined with a consumer-focused enforcement scheme modeled after Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, is the best way to implement strong, legally enforceable, and consumer-friendly open Internet rules with no blocking, no paid prioritization, and heightened transparency.

MMTC filed a memorandum last week detailing how the FCC can import the EEOC’s time-tested grievance process to alert the FCC to potential breaches of the open Internet rules.
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Financial Strategies CBC EventOn September 25, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) will host the panel “Financial Strategies for Minority Ownership of Media and Communications Firms” featuring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Tim Robinson, Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, Earl Jones, Ann Marie Mahlum, James Reynolds, Charles Warfield, and Rohan Williamson at the Congressional Black Caucus. [click to continue…]

MMTC is excited to invite you to the STEM4US! Tech Festival & Soiree on Sept. 24th, held at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery from 6pm to 9pm during the 44th Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

The event will connect more than 200 technology executives, government officials, venture capital firms, entrepreneurs, members of Congress, and STEM professionals. STEM groups, universities, and startups will showcase their technology and services during the tech festival. This event has the support of the Executive Office of the Mayor Vincent Gray, Washington, D.C.

STEM4USFESTIVAL

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Aspen Institute Learner at the Center of a Networked World Report CoverDuring the ISTE Conference this summer, Former FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate announced the release of the “Learner at the Center of a Networked World” Report, created by the Aspen Institute’s Task Force on Learning and the Internet.  The task force of twenty diverse leaders and respected minds in technology, public policy, education, business, privacy, and safety developed a cross-sector, cross-partisan report that highlights 26 actions for optimizing learning and innovation within a trusted environment.  Tate’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below. [click to continue…]

Internet OpenIn response to the FCC’s ongoing solicitation for feedback on how to preserve an open Internet, 45 leading civil rights organizations came together to file Reply Comments in the Open Internet proceeding. In the debate over how the FCC should regulate the Internet, the National Minority Organizations respond that open Internet rules, crafted under the Commission’s Section 706 authority in combination with a consumer-focused enforcement scheme modeled after Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, is the best way to protect an open Internet while advancing necessary initiatives to close the digital divide.

This coalition of many of the most distinguished and respected national civil rights and minority-serving organizations that represent millions of constituents assert the need for smart public policy that is focused on promoting broadband adoption among vulnerable populations and facilitating a level of regulatory certainty that has cultivated today’s thriving and expanding Internet ecosystem. [click to continue…]

Clyburn Debra Lee 2014 Kaitz Dinner2Last night, the Walter Kaitz Foundation held its 31st Annual Kaitz Dinner, a fundraiser that raised over $1.4 million from sponsors, attendees, and supporters, and attracted a star-studded array of guests from the media and telecom industries. Among the guests were BET Networks Chairman and President Debra Lee, NuvoTV comedian Erik Rivera, and all-star performers from Fox’s hit show So You Think You Can Dance, including an appearance by host Cat Deeley. The highlight of the night, though, was the Foundation’s presentation of its annual awards: The 2014 Diversity Advocate Award was presented to Federal Communications Commissioner and former Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, and the 2014 Diversity Champion Award was presented to BET Networks.

Fighting Negative Stereotypes by Celebrating Our Voices

In the ongoing tide of media promoting a steady stream of negative images of minority men and women – from demonizing immigrants to painting slain, unarmed, black 19-year-old Michael Brown as a violent thug – it is vital that we fight back by promoting the positive images and successes that are rampant within our communities, but often invisible in the mainstream media. Awards ceremonies like the Kaitz Foundation’s Annual Dinner help to not only recognize and reward the achievements of those from diverse communities, but also to counterbalance the negative perceptions that plague many minority groups in this nation. [click to continue…]

Apple Watch and Google GlassesAs excitement builds around the release of Apple’s new Apple Watch, it is clear an increasing amount of advanced, wearable technology is available to those who have the disposable income and an understanding of the opportunities that these devices and applications will enable. Emerging wearable technologies, such as Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, are handy gadgets for the always-connected. Wearables are the next step in seamless access to Web-enabled applications.

But for those not connected to the Internet, the question remains: What impact will these devices have on the digital divide? [click to continue…]

On September 16, MMTC filed the following letter with the Federal Communications Commission, urging its leaders to assign its Advisory Committee for Diversity in the Digital Age to research the causes of the stark employment gaps within the technology sector.

Dark ComputerDear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners:

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) respectfully requests that the Commission assign its Advisory Committee for Diversity in the Digital Age (Diversity Committee) the task of researching the causes of troubling employment patterns and practices in the technology sector. This task fits right into the jurisdiction of the Committee, whose most recent Charter provides that it shall “provide recommendations to the FCC regarding policies and practices that will further enhance diverse participation in the telecommunications and related [emphasis added] industries.“[1] [click to continue…]

TV Station Control RoomWashington, D.C. (September 11, 2014): Bayou City Broadcasting Evansville Inc. recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with Nexstar Broadcasting Group to purchase CBS affiliate WEVV in Evansville, IN, for $18.6 million. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council lauds this transaction as a definitive step toward increasing diversity in broadcast ownership across the nation.

Minority broadcast ownership has plummeted since Congress repealed the Federal Communications Commission’s Tax Certificate Policy in 1995. During the 17-year lifetime of the policy, which was designed to provide tax incentives to increase diversity in broadcast ownership, the Commission granted 356 tax certificates – 287 for radio, 40 for television, and 30 for cable franchises. This policy was the most effective measure in increasing broadcast diversity, as the FCC has been mandated by Congress to do, but minority ownership has fallen to statistically zero since the policy’s repeal. Bayou City’s purchase is the first completely independent acquisition by an African-American broadcaster in years, and a noteworthy achievement. [click to continue…]